Exhibit Planning

Making a Way Out of No Way: African-American Entrepreneurs in the Tar Heel State, 1800 – 1900

Included here are the documents-in-the-works that comprise the “Exhibit Plans.” Word versions of each document are available for download, review, and mark-up.

  1. Exhibit Walk-Through from the perspective of the visitor (draft)
  2. Educational Lesson Plans on each of the ten Entrepreneurs; one lesson plan on the general topic of African American Entrepreneurship in the 19th century (draft)
  3. Exhibit Promotional material (draft)
  4. A pre-visit guide to orient coordinators of the exhibit (draft)
  5. A Schedule for the Orientation Meeting for Coordinators at the Exhibit at Venues (draft)

More on the Exhibit Planning Project

Elizabeth Keckly, Dress Designer. 1818 – 1907

Eight of the ten entrepreneurs featured in the exhibit built businesses in North Carolina and two spent formative years in the state but established their businesses in Washington, DC and Boston. The target population for this exhibit is at risk minority youth in the middle grades (6 – 9 grades). The goal is not only to provide “new” historical knowledge, but also to provide compelling role models, especially for minority youth, that offer practical strategies for making good decisions and taking actions that ensure attainment of one’s life goals. The exhibit aims to inspire youth with the feeling that they too can overcome hardship and resource deprivation in their own lives in the 21st century.

Lead scholar consultant to the exhibit planning project is Dr. Juliet E.K. Walker pre-eminent scholar of the history of black business in America. She is a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is also the founding director of the Center of Black Business History, Entrepreneurship, and Technology. Her scholarship has provided the foundation for recognizing black business history as a subfield in African American history. She is author of The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship (1998), and the first comprehensive book on black business history. Her first book, Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier (1983) details the entrepreneurial activities of slave-born Frank (1777–1854), who purchased sixteen family members from slavery using profits from slave and free businesses enterprises, and who was the first African American to legally plat a town in 1836. Free Frank was Dr. Walker’s great great grand father and this book was the subject of her doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago, where she studied under the pre-eminent history of African-American history, Dr. John Hope Franklin. Dr. Walker’s research on Free Frank enabled the town site, New Philadelphia, Illinois, to be named a National Historic Landmark.

Dr. Walker is also the editor of the Encyclopedia of African American Business History (1999) and the author of over ninety articles and scholarly essays.